Phone Systems Buyer's Guide
Office phone system features
Table of Contents
- Introduction to small business phone systems
- Types of commercial phone systems
- Sizing office phone systems
- Office phone system features
- Advanced corporate phone systems features
- Choosing business phone service providers and resellers
- Phone systems pricing
- Phone system buying tips
- Find a Business Phone Systems supplier
Office telephone systems can be equipped with literally hundreds of features for switching calls and directing traffic. Dealers estimate, however, that most companies use only 10 percent of their available telephone features.
Some of the most popular features are standard in today's telephone systems:
- Auto-attendant is a recorded message that answers your phones and instructs callers how to reach the person or department they are looking for. If you have a high volume of calls, this may be important, or you may prefer to have a live person answer every call.
- Conferencing features can vary widely. Consider how often your staff needs to make conference calls and how many people need to call in. Conferencing for less than three people is included. If you need conferencing features for four or more callers, there is sometimes a small additional charge.
- Music-on-hold is fairly self-explanatory - in most systems you simply plug in a source of music. Find out more in our Messaging On Hold Buyer's Guide.
- Dial by name, dial by extension, or dial from directory services help callers find the people they need to speak with.
- Display phones have a small screen that shows information such as the name and extension of an internal caller, the duration of call, and in some cases, caller ID.
- Speaker phones can be half-duplex, which means that only one person on the call can be heard at a time, or full-duplex, which lets both parties talk simultaneously, like a regular phone. Some phones also have a 'listen only' mode for speaker phone, which is useful for monitoring a conference call or while on hold.
- Voicemail used to be a rather expensive option butis now standard in most phone systems. If you already have a voicemail system, discuss with your vendor about its compatibility with your potential new phone system.
- Smart phone apps come standard with cloud-based PBX systems.
Business phone system technology advances every year, or sooner. One new feature is simultaneous device routing. This highly configurable feature allows for you to program your office phone and cell phone to ring at the same time, or sequence a certain order.
It's critical that your phone system features are easy to access and use. Because most employees devote little time to learning how to use a phone system. It is beneficial if the most common functions are extremely simple and intuitive.